I’m not single. I’m in a long standing relationship with fun and freedom.
“Well… That was Interesting” – A Chronicle of My Solo and Collaborative Play Sessions
How does one navigate a game system explicitly designed for a group dynamic, where one person assumes the role of a game master, and the rest embody unique characters with distinctive personas and playing styles? How can we simulate the diverse player interactions and dynamics inherent in a group play setting?
Well, lend me your ear for a few moments and let me play the role of your oracle, if you would be so kind.
In the early stages of my solo playing journey, I would share my experiences on Facebook and discuss it with my two gaming groups. Naturally, questions about my approach and methods started coming my way.
Explaining that there wasn’t just one formula was a challenge. At that point, I was utilizing resources like The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox and its part two, expanded edition. However, I was already progressing beyond the scope of these books. I anticipated solo playing various other systems, which these books, designed specifically for Dungeons and Dragons, wouldn’t necessarily facilitate. I also owned a copy of the first edition of the Mythic Game Master Emulator but hadn’t fully incorporated it into my gameplay.
One day, an idea sparked: why not launch a website to chronicle my solo playing journey? I could detail the resources I employed, recount how my games unfolded, and share other valuable elements from my library. This led to the creation of The Old Bard, a dedicated space to document and share my solo RPG adventures.
These posts initially kicked off with my very first D&D 5E solo campaign. At the outset, I knew I wanted to switch to using Mythic, which left me in a quandary about whether to detail the early stages of the campaign that were guided by The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox. I eventually decided to do a series of quick posts to bring readers up to speed on the narrative so far, but these early posts were relatively light on substantive details.
As I reflect on the genesis of these solo posts, the reason for dubbing them “Well… That was Interesting” remains somewhat elusive. Nonetheless, it seems to emanate from those gaming sessions that took unpredicted twists, leaving indelible imprints of intrigue. The moniker persisted, and it’s grown on me quite a bit.
I always knew that I would eventually be doing solo games for different games here, so when I embarked on subsequent solo campaigns utilizing other RPG systems like the Dune RPG, ALIEN RPG, and Pathfinder 2E, I paid meticulous attention to detail from the get-go, ensuring richer and more in-depth initial posts. Over time, I’ve refined and established a unique pattern and style for these posts that I believe brings more clarity and utility to readers. Much of the discourse that follows in this “Insight Check” post is a reflection and analysis of the experiences and discoveries I’ve made through conducting these solo game posts.
A primary aspiration underpinning the “Well… That was Interesting” series is its potential usefulness to you, the reader. My detailed chronicles are not just simple recollections of my solo campaigns; they are meticulously crafted narratives intended to elucidate the workings of the RPG systems I explore. Each post acts as a practical case study, providing insights into both the system’s mechanics and the unique challenges and rewards of engaging with it in a solo format. My hope is that these experiences will serve as a useful guide for those of you venturing into similar territories. Whether you’re just dipping your toes into a new RPG system, or contemplating the possibilities of solo play, my aim is to provide valuable insights that will aid in your journey and foster a deeper understanding of these gaming experiences.
During the initial phase of my blogging, it became apparent that some posts could be challenging to follow due to the use of certain abbreviations like ATGM and ATPC. Constantly redefining these abbreviations within individual posts became repetitive, especially for regular readers already familiar with them. To remedy this, I decided to create a dedicated page for explaining these abbreviations and post structure called A Readers Guide to Play Sessions on The Old Bard, thereby making the blog more reader-friendly. Now, at the start of each post, I include a small note directing readers to this resource for any necessary clarifications.
Frequently, I incorporate quotations and page references from RPG systems and resources into my posts. This strategy not only enhances the context of the subject at hand but also aids readers in swiftly locating relevant information.
Naturally, as any good content creator does, I wholeheartedly appreciate insightful feedback. If you find my content beneficial, or if there’s a particular topic, you’d like me to explore or a change in my presentation approach that you suggest, I encourage you to get in touch. Your input matters to me.
Collaborative Solo Play? What’s that?
I’ve embarked on a fresh avenue of solo playing that I’ve dubbed “Collaborative Solo Play.” This style straddles the line between lone play and traditional group play. In this scenario, a fellow player, known as the Space Cowboy, joins me. Our chosen gaming universe is the RPG Dune: Adventures in the Imperium.
Here’s the intriguing twist: each of us controls a specific House. In every game session, one of us takes the reins of our designated House and its associated player characters, while treating the other’s House and characters as Non-Player Characters (NPCs). Upon the conclusion of that session, the mantle is passed to the other participant, who then animates their House and characters, treating the counterpart’s characters as NPCs.
This cyclic exchange allows us to respond and adapt to the evolving narrative and circumstances imposed on our characters, further deepening the storyline. I’m excited for this intriguing journey.
You can find out more in Dune RPG – Collab Game 1: The Sleeper Has Awakened.
Rewards and XP
Keeping a consistent narrative and ensuring that the various elements of these RPGs are coherently linked in my mind has been an enlightening experience, pushing me to develop strategies for effective mental and physical organization. Crafting these gaming posts has been akin to weaving an intricate tapestry from diverse threads – character backstories, system rules, plot developments, and more. The process of transcribing these gaming experiences into posts has greatly enhanced my understanding and retention of the game’s elements. In essence, these posts serve not just as a sharing platform for you, the reader, but also as a personal tool for me to reinforce and compartmentalize my understanding of each RPG system, making the entire experience more enriching and engaging.
Undoubtedly, crafting narratives through these posts brings me immense joy. This process has proven invaluable, compelling me not only to thoroughly comprehend the systems but also offering me a platform to hone my skills as a game master.
As these narratives and mechanics intertwine in my mind, their complexity necessitates an effective system of organization. Whether it’s the many plot threads of my solo campaigns, the nuances of different RPG systems, or my thoughts on a specific resource, having a reliable method of cataloging these details is vital. The role of organization in maintaining the clarity and coherence of my gaming sessions and posts cannot be overstated. And this is precisely what leads us to the next topic of discussion – the quest for effective organization strategies. Let’s delve into the realm of notes, journaling, and digital tools in the next Insight Check.
In retracing this journey through the realms of solo and collaborative play, we’ve navigated RPG systems, gathered valuable insights, and shared varied experiences. This ongoing saga aims not only to demystify RPG mechanics but to serve as a beacon for your gaming adventures. Your suggestions, ideas, and feedback enrich our shared dialogue and are greatly welcomed.
Documenting this journey has been both an act of creativity and a tool for honing my game mastering skills. Each narrative enhances our collective understanding of the RPG landscape.
As we look ahead, our next Insight Check will dive into the art of organization: note-taking, journaling, and digital tools. I eagerly anticipate our continued exploration of the RPG world together.